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Dr. Charlie Camosy on Where the Pro-Life Movement Should Go Next


Friend of the show Dr. Charles Camosy chats with Father Dave about where the Pro-Life movement should go if Roe v. Wade is overturned. He discusses economic justice, ableism, and extremism in the abortion rights movement, and shares recent updates in Canada’s policy on physician-assisted suicide. 

Dr. Camosy has written multiple award-winning books on the abortion issue. He was recently published in the New York Times, where he was asked where the Pro-Life movement should go next. In the article, he said that it is essential to empower economically disadvantaged women. When Father Dave asked him to elaborate on that response, Dr. Camosy said, “It doesn’t get a lot of play in our right-left polarized binary that we talk about so much on your show together. It’s people who live in households that make under $40,000 a year who are the most anti-abortion. But it turns out that that is the very same population that has the most abortions, mostly because of the vulnerable situations in which women who are economically vulnerable find themselves.”

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Dr. Camosy believes that “the Church especially needs to be the place where we blow up that binary and say we not only respect the woman’s desire not to have an abortion, we want to be there for her and try to mitigate some of these structural forces for her which push her to have an abortion.”

Camosy also thinks the Pro-Life movement needs to bring more attention to ableism. He says that “when there are 90% of babies killed via abortion because they have Down’s syndrome, that’s ableism. That’s saying human beings that don’t have the same abilities we do have lives that aren’t worth living.” He says that it is essential for the Pro-Life movement to strike back against that discrimination as well.

Father Dave then pivots the conversation to a discussion of the violent responses that some pro-abortion activists have had in response to the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. He asks Dr. Camosy if it’s surprising to him. “I am surprised that anyone can act that way to a decision that is going to allow us to finally try to protect both mother and child,” Camosy replied.

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However, he also realizes that “this issue has become so – controversial doesn’t even begin to describe it – with a certain group of people. I used to be on the board of Democrats for Life, but I had to leave the board because the party became so extreme on this issue.”

Father Dave then asks Dr. Camosy about an update in Canada, where policy is being put in place to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Dr. Camosy likens it to the situations of economically disadvantaged people who feel forced to get abortions they don’t believe in. “If I’m against abortion and I’m pressed into a situation where I feel like I have to have an abortion, that’s diabolical. If I’m against assisted suicide – and the statistics are very clear: the economically vulnerable and racial minorities are disproportionately against assisted suicide – if I’m against assisted suicide and I feel coerced because the culture is structurally pushing me toward assisted suicide, it seems to me that that’s almost precisely the same kind of demonic set up as when a woman has an abortion she doesn’t want to have.”

LISTEN: Dr. Camosy on Medical Ethics During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Finally, Dr. Camosy closes out the show by challenging those on all sides of the issue: “What is it about Western cultures that we have to either get on one side or the other of this; Where those who are against abortion, who are against physician-assisted suicide, are very rarely also on the side of helping women with housing or helping women get into situations where they can help with taking care of their children? It seems to be obvious, and maybe it’s just because I’m Catholic, but our tradition really says that we refuse to choose between those two options. We’re against killing, we’re against killing the innocent, we’re against violence in medicine of all kinds, but then we’re there to help, and we need to be there to help and it’s just as important to do that.”